Hanukkah

“8 Facts” about the Jewish Feast of Dedication

A teddybear holding a burning candle sits alongside an eight-branched lampstand

Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

1
The history of the Jewish Festival of Lights is about the one temple in Jerusalem. To be precise, about its re-consecration (“Hanukkah”) in the year 164 B.C.E. after it had stood for many years under Syrian-Greek control.

 


2

During this period of foreign rule, two groups were in conflict: on the one side was the Seleucid Empire under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, while on the other side were the courageous Maccabees led by the priest Mattathias and his sons.  continue reading


Lionel Blue’s Backdoor to Heaven

An Obituary

Portrait of an elderly man with glasses, kippah and tallit.

Lionel Blue, rabbi, writer and broadcaster, was born on 6 February 1930 and died on 19 December 2016 in London.

Rabbi Lionel Blue was one of the last of a generation of liberal rabbis in Britain that included Rabbis John Rayner, Hugo Gryn and Albert H. Friedlander. They were all children of the Second World War who carried stories of loss and displacement with them. Each of them was singularly brilliant and charismatic in his own way, helping loosely affiliated Jews to find a way back to a liberal, inclusive form of Judaism. Unlike the others, Lionel Blue was not a refugee, but grew up as the son of a tailor and secretary in London’s then predominantly Jewish East End, experiencing the Blitz and the local violence of Oswald Mosley’s anti-Semitic blackshirts.

Born in 1930, Blue documented his struggles with his homosexuality as well as his path to the rabbinate in his book “Godly and Gay,” published in 1981. Blue was private, but non-secretive about his long-term partnerships and as the first rabbi in Britain to publicly declare his homosexuality, he became an important role model for gay Jews.  continue reading


“I don’t laugh about religion. I laugh about human behavior.”

An Interview with Eran Shakine

Today, on 27 October 2016 at 7 pm, our exhibition “A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew” is opening with Eran Shakine in attendance. In the run-up to the opening, Gregor H. Lersch spoke with the Israeli artist about religion, art, and his sources of inspiration.

Portrait of Eran Shakine

Eran Shakine; photo: Shay Kedem

Gregor H. Lersch: What does “A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew” (MCJ) show?

Eran Shakine: “A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew…” sounds like the beginning of a joke. But that is just to get your attention.

The show is an installation consisting of 40 paintings, drawings, and three metal cut-out sculptures.

The three similar figures, their religious background unidentifiable, create situations by means of a vivid and comical body language. In every drawing they witness and experience major events in history or philosophy, or meet important figures like Moses, Buddha or Nelson Mandela. The three heroes, dressed as 19th century gentlemen, help each other in their journey to find the love of God.

Here, there are no stereotypes, no one is the laughingstock, everyone is the same; we see three human beings who explore life, nature, culture and philosophy, out of shared curiosity, without trying to prove each other wrong.

Why did you start to work on MCJ?  continue reading